Our Story

For more than 170 years, all our efforts have been driven by one conviction: the belief that when people engage with the Bible, lives can change–for good.

On September 2nd, 1846, the Rev Walter Lawry founded the Auckland Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

The Bible Society movement was founded in London in 1804 by a small group of visionary individuals who believed the Bible should be shared with the world.

Early in the 19th century, missionaries brought the Bible to New Zealand at the invitation of Māori. Bible Society’s first involvement in Bible mission in New Zealand came in 1827 when the New South Wales Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society paid £41 for the printing of the first Scriptures in Māori – a collection of passages including Genesis chapters 1-3, John chapter 1 and selected verses from Exodus and Matthew as well as The Lord’s Prayer.  Bible Society New Zealand officially began operating in 1846.

The Gospel message spread rapidly throughout New Zealand following the translation and 1837 publication of the first Māori New Testament.  Because of this, the Bible played a formative role in the shaping of New Zealand as a nation. Just over 30 years later in 1868, the first full Bible in Māori was published.

Bible Society grew rapidly, region by region, and was effective in raising funds to help Bible mission both within New Zealand and overseas. Gradually, Bible Society’s regional approach gave way to a national organisation.

Today Bible Society’s national office is in Wellington with a second office in Auckland.


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